We all want to grow old gracefully … remain fit and active into our later years in order to get the most out of life.

A lot of claims are made for the benefits of yoga: it may not prevent wrinkles and grey hair, but what is certain that a regular practice can help maintain flexibility and joint health.

Pawankuktasana, which we have been practicising this week, is a series of exercises developed by the Bihar School of Yoga in India in the 1960s, where the philosophy is to adapt traditional yoga to the needs of a modern audience.

It consists of a gentle series of movements that can be practiced by anyone regardless of age and fitness, in which slow repetitive movements are linked to the breath.

In Sanskrit ‘Pawan’ means wind or energy,‘mukta’ means release, and ‘asana’ postures. Pawanmuktasana can also be translated as the Joint Freeing Sequence. There are three series, each targeting specific areas of our body and mind:

1.     Anti-rheumatic for loosening joints of the body

2.     Digestive and abdominal group

3.     Shakti Bandha or energy block

These become more challenging as they progress and the Pawanmuktasana series 3 requires quite a bit of flexibility in the ankles, legs and hips. Below is a version of Series 1, and ideal as a warm up or a sequence in its own right. Google it and you will find plenty of other examples and videos.